Although articular cartilage can withstand many decades of joint use, excessive force can disrupt the tissue.

Articular cartilage is metabolically active, yet it has a limited capacity to replace damaged or lost cells and matrix.19 Factors responsible for this limited response include a paucity of native cells and a lack of blood vessels to import more. Because of the unique characteristics of articular cartilage, the repair responses to superficial injuries and injuries that damage subchondral bone as well as articular cartilage differ considerably.19